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Commerce Undersecretary Says U.s., Russia Must Act to Ensure Israel’s Survival

A member of the Johnson Administration said here today that the United States, “hopefully supported by a new Russian understanding of our commitment” to Israel, must take the lead among world bodies “to develop new strategy, new policies insuring Israel’s survival.” He said this was essential “if the mistakes of the past decade in the Middle East are not to be repeated.”

Howard J. Samuels, Undersecretary of Commerce, who represented the U.S. at the International Trade Fair at Tel Aviv, told the New York committee of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee here today that he had been concerned for years “about the failure of the institutions of the Government of America to be responsive and responsible to our changing needs and to our new opportunities.” He returned from this visit, he said, “concerned that we Americans may not fully recognize the continuing and possibly growing peril in the Middle East.” He warned that “the Russians, playing dangerous politics in the Middle East, are rearming the Arabs with even more modern aircraft and missiles.”

A new strategy and policy, he said, were “essential to insure the survival of Israel.” The failure of Israel to survive, he asserted, “would be a major tragedy in the history of mankind.” He deplored the fact that despite Israel’s victory last year, ‘peace still eludes her. There has been little or no progress toward peace between Israel and the Arab nations.”

The committee announced that Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein, its chairman, and Irving Kane, its co-chairman, will appeal to the national political conventions for strong Middle East planks urging direct Arab-Israel peace negotiations.

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